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Sandra Paulsen September 1st, 2005 11:43 PM

Hurricane Katrina
In this time of national disaster, we can all do our part by contributing financial aid to such agencies as the Red Cross or Salvation Army, church groups such as the Episcopal Relief Fund or Catholic Charities, and our own EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program. These are only a few of the many agencies with excellent track records.

Though mental health workers want to help, at this time, rescue and survival is the only priority. As time goes on, and the recovery phases advance, the enormity of the trauma for thousands will become clear. At that time, EMDR practitioners will be able to contribute services through EMDR HAP (Humanitarian Assistance Program). EMDR HAP's good works can always use charitable funding donations.

For those of us only watching helplessly now, let's be aware of vicarious traumatization. The TV has an off switch. Let's protect ourselves and our families from vicarious PTSD that can occur from seeing more than we can manage or bear. People with a history of trauma are especially vulnerable to being triggered now, because the familiar themes of helplessness, terror, grief, sorrow, anger get stirred very deeply not only for the present tragedy but for ancient unresolved hurts as well, often outside of awareness. For such people, feeling the ground under bare feet, rain on ones face, being clearly grounded in the five senses of taste, touch, smell, sound and sight can help. Reassuring little ones of ones own personal safety in present time can help.

Prayers that hold a vision of hope and recovery and healing for the future will serve ourselves, our loved ones, and those most affected by today's massive tragedy. Let all people great and small commit now to take the actions that will serve the greatest good.

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